Justin Bieber’s Boyfriend is already climbing the charts, and may soon be the next big radio sensation. But what is it about Bieber’s tunes that gets him so much attention? Is it the intricacy of his musical composition and production, the depth of his lyrics or his natural charm. Here is a second-by-second analysis of what makes Boyfriend a winner.
0:00-0:15 - The song begins with a layered synth-clap and an
alarm-like loop, in declaration that over-production can no longer be
used as a reason to hate on Bieber’s hit parade. Then, from centre-mix
at 0:09 comes the fruition of every prepubescent Bieber-lovers’ dream:
“If I was your boyfriend, I’d never let you go,” … perhaps Bieber has
Sérgio Mendes on his iPod play-list.
And then: “I can
take you places you ain’t never been before.” So in other words, places
you’ve already been. So far, this place feels like the Micky Mouse Club.
0:15-0:30 - “Baby take a chance or you’ll never ever know… ” he continues, “I got money in my hands that I’d really like to blow
(Swag swag swag), on you.” For the sake of children everywhere, I will not even tread into the gangster-rap-inspired innuendo that Bieber has just inflicted on your daughters’ subconscious.
At this point, Bieber qualifies his romantic side: “Chillin’ by the fire while we eatin’ fondue.” Before he melts your heart, he’s going to melt you some cheese. And then try to seduce you with syntactical confusion: “I dunno about me but I know about you.”
0:30-1:00 - He announces his falsetto and begins his first chorus, backed by compressed guitar and more synths: “I’d like to be everything you want; Hey girl, let me talk to you,” As if he hasn’t been doing all the talking so far… then something about keeping her so close that she’ll never be alone: “I can be a gentleman, anything you want,” because manners are optional.
1:00-1:08 - We return to more of Bieber’s prosaic rhetoric, with such imagination-stimulating metaphors as “I could be your Buzz Lightyear, fly across the globe,” to similies like “Imma a make you shine bright like you’re laying in the snow,” adding with an onomatopoeic flourish: “burrr.”
1:08-1:19 - For those still confused, Bieber states the natural side-effect of being a boyfriend: “Girlfriend, girlfriend, you could be my girlfriend…” and then with infinity and beyond fresh in his mind continues, “…you can be my girlfriend until the (record scratch) world ends.” I’m assuming the censored adjective was “wondrous.”
1:19-1:50 - Now more “swaggie,” and before the next chorus, another chance to commend his vocal performance a second time: “Voice goin’ crazy on this hook like a whirl wind.”
1:50-2:10 - After another chorus, Bieber demonstrates how crazy his voice can really go with a bridge that is so auto-tuned it would make T-Pain blush.
2:10-2:29 - More repetition, Backstreet Boy-inspired backing vocals, and Bieber’s proposal to take the relationship with his girl up a notch, “Spend a week wit your boy I’ll be calling you my girlfriend.”
2:29-end - Bieber adds diversity to his outro, adding “nanana,” and for an attempt at rapper authenticity, grunts and huffs his way into one more contemplative repetition of “If I was your boyfriend,” which reverberates its way into a much more satisfying silence.
Despite the impassioned encouragement in 2010 for his fans to “never say never,” he’s just sang it 17 times in less than three minutes. He must have heard somewhere that the greatest musicians are unpredictable.